By Sinazo Mkoko
While efforts have been made to promote gender equity in South African public and private organisations, women in leadership roles are still a minority in certain sectors.
A Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa (GEMSA) report released in 2022 showed that women and youth in entrepreneurship are critical levers for economic growth and development, both in South Africa and other African/developing countries. “Research evidence indicates that economic participation by women has wide-reaching impacts on and long-term benefits for local communities as well as overall economic growth,” the report said.
Here we list four organisations promoting women empowerment in South Africa.
Motsepe Foundation – Women’s Unit
The Women’s Unit of Motsepe Foundation aims to bring together globally influential leaders and grassroots organisations that work with vulnerable women to inspire greater efforts for the advancement of women in leadership and gender equality across all industries.
With programmes such as the Gender Responsive Budget (GRB) which aims to improve the results of budgets in general, and gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Foundation focuses on key economic and social matters that are often overlooked or obscured in conventional budget and policy analysis and decision-making.
With the core philosophy to focus on the promotion of STEM, focusing on engineering and technology from primary school to industry, this multi-award-winning social enterprise aims to develop high-skilled girls and women for the engineering and technology industries. The organisation states: “We believe that cognitive and behavioural skills are vital for the engineering workforce. Beyond these skills it is important for girls and women to have mentorship and leadership development opportunities to create a virtuous cycle of women participating in STEM fields.”
South African Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE)
Over the years, the SAIE has developed a series of training programs that use active learning principles to engage participants in a process of discovering the fundamentals of business. This forms part of the institute’s vision of a dynamic culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. The institution continues to develop innovative materials that use original, creative methods and trains educators, and community-based organisations to convey business skills and uncover entrepreneurship qualities to ensure sustainable economic development and wealth creation.
This is a women-led organisation that empowers young women by developing strategies for their educational and personal development. With a vision of a South Africa with educated and empowered young women, the organisation runs a series of programmes to ensure that women in this country are empowered and have the necessary skills to be leaders.
The Big Sister Network provides mentorship for young women at the university-level by senior and middle-management women. The network consists of professional women who are established in their respective careers and are a Big Sister to young women.